GRANITE FALLS — A man suspected of vehicular homicide in Snohomish County has racked up three speeding tickets and a domestic violence conviction while his felony case has been pending.
Lars Kundu was arrested Jan. 28, 2018, after a fatal crash in a roundabout near Granite Falls. He was accused of striking and killing a motorcyclist and fleeing the scene in the Mazda Navajo he was driving. He was released from jail when charges weren’t immediately filed.
Prosecutors say they are awaiting the findings of Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives, whose investigations into serious collisions often take a year or longer.
The case is still “active,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Courtney O’Keefe said Thursday.
Defense attorney Laura Shaver said she has not been informed whether prosecutors will file charges, “or whether they’re recognizing it was an accident,” she said.
She has not had access to the law enforcement reports, which are not disclosable until the investigation is closed.
Police said Kundu was tailgating a car on Highway 92 before he tried to pass it in the roundabout at Quarry Road, causing the crash that killed the motorcyclist, Chad Keeler, 29.
Kundu, of Lake Stevens, allegedly then struck a fence and kept going into the Getchell area. At some point he used pepper spray during a confrontation with a witness. He reportedly told a deputy he’d smoked marijuana earlier in the day, but blood test results have not been made public.
In a different crash in the Marysville area in 2011, Kundu suffered a significant head injury as a passenger. The driver, Juan Mendoza, 16, was killed. Kundu later reached a $375,000 settlement with Snohomish County over the condition of the road.
That injury continues to contribute to his mental health issues, Shaver said.
His interactions with law enforcement since the 2018 crash are described in public records.
Kundu was arrested in Skamania County on April 15, 2018, for investigation of misdemeanor domestic violence assault against his girlfriend. The couple were contacted by the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office around 2 a.m. in Stevenson, about an hour east of Vancouver, Undersheriff Pat Bond said.
They had been driving, then stopped outside an inn, according to the arrest report obtained by The Daily Herald. An argument escalated, and the woman called police.
She reported Kundu forced her out of the vehicle by pushing and pulling on her. She said he then briefly took off in the car before returning. She said that he had been drinking.
This week, Kundu’s attorney said the girlfriend was trying to help him while he was having a mental health crisis. As part of his guilty plea in June, Kundu was ordered into counseling, the attorney said.
He also was fined $5,000 and sentenced to 364 days in jail, though much of that punishment was suspended so long as he doesn’t have further “criminal law violations,” records show. The judge also specified that he is not supposed to drive without a license and insurance, or after consuming alcohol.
In May 2018, the assault case still was pending when Kundu was ticketed for driving 5 miles over the limit by the Washington State Patrol. The case was closed with a $105 payment.
He turned 23 last August.
He was ticketed again Oct. 2 by a trooper for speeding 10 miles over the limit. He contested the citation, and it was amended in court to a finding that his license-plate tabs were expired. On Monday, the account was paid in full at $356.
On Oct. 11, Kundu was ticketed for speeding by the Lake Stevens Police Department — this time for going 13 miles over the limit. That infraction was contested and also amended to an expired-tabs citation. As part of that resolution, he paid $166 in February.
Shaver, the defense attorney, noted that the latter two tickets were resolved as non-moving violations.
In the Granite Falls case, the arrest report shows police were suggesting charges of vehicular homicide and hit-and-run fatality.
A vehicular homicide charge is most often filed in connection with fatal collisions involving impaired driving. The state law also can apply if a driver was reckless or disregarded others’ safety.
The defense attorney said she was told that witnesses have been uncooperative.